Brexit Will Force Firms to Make Technology Investment a Priority

Published 03/01/2019 by Dean McGlone, V1

The wait is almost over. After years of negotiations between political leaders, on March 29, 2019, Britain will leave the European Union (EU). In the meantime, concerns over what type of deal the nation can expect are intensifying. A no-deal Brexit, hard Brexit or ultra-soft Brexit -- nobody really knows because the political opinions to Theresa May's plans seem to be changing by the hour.

What's certain is that Brexit will impact UK organizations in a big way. In fact, according to new data from the IHS Markit and the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply, it already is. It reveals how a sharp deterioration in growth of the service sector, which includes banks, hotels and restaurants, have led to the economy almost flatlining in November as Brexit panic grips businesses.

What's more, the challenges -- or, as many would call it, chaos -- has caused companies to hit the pause button on new work. The uncertainty has seen firms delaying investment decisions, for example, while some manufacturers are considering stockpiling to avoid post-Brexit delays.

It's pretty clear, then, that 2019 will be a year like no other. Yes, the concerns over a Brexit deal will continue but, with less than four months until Britain formally leaves the EU, organizations will have no option but to adapt to the consequences, whatever the final outcome may be.

Looking at the positives
The reality is that Brexit will represent opportunities as well as threats, and business leaders will need to focus on what's required for their organization to grow, be agile and drive productivity. Technology will undoubtedly play a leading role in helping them achieve these goals.

According to Advanced's latest Trends Report, technology ranks highest when it comes to business spending priorities -- over and above R&D and talent acquisition. Over half (52%) say it will be a priority for 2019 although it wouldn't be surprising if this figure jumped significantly as we approach March 29. Simply put, Brexit will force organizations to make technology investment a priority.

So what kind of technology are we talking about here?

For a start, virtually every organization is experiencing the benefits of the cloud. It has already become a key driver in digital transformation, impacting every industry from retail through to financial services and manufacturing. Through the cloud, digital-centric businesses are emerging that are more nimble and innovative than ever before. It enables them to focus on their core business, as well as minimize cost and leverage economies of scale, improve end-user experience and reduce operational risk.

Crucially, with Brexit on the horizon, the cloud will give organizations greater flexibility as they will instead be spending money on monthly cloud subscriptions rather than making long-term, upfront investments. Thanks to this pinnacle technology, decisions can also be made more quickly because businesses will have accurate and timely data at their fingertips, allowing greater control.

There is no doubt the cloud will therefore be a business priority in 2019.
Another potentially game-changing technology is automation, which will climb in popularity over the next 12 months and, eventually, become ubiquitous among businesses.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) can relieve teams from mundane and repetitive work, enabling them to focus on higher-value and strategic activities -- like planning for the Brexit fall-out.